Facing down the prospect of returning to school can be a scary time, especially if you’ve spent the summer eating to your heart’s content and staying out of the gym (generally great things to do during the summer months.)
When you see people again for the first time, try to mirror the kind of reunion you would like to experience. Don’t exclaim: “You look great! Did you lose weight?” upon first seeing old friends. Even if they did, this establishes a value judgment about weight that will only serve to hurt people’s feeling in the long run. (Other friends, for example, might wonder if they don’t look great because you didn’t mention their weight.) Instead express in a heartfelt way how glad you are to see them. Ask about what they did over the summer and really listen. Don’t get sucked into pity parties about how fat you feel. The commiseration may seem comforting but it is only a pseudo comfort.
The real comfort is feeling like your friends genuinely missed you and are excited to hear about your experiences, thoughts, and feelings over the last three months. Give them that gift so they will know to return the favor.
~Courtney E. Martin
Body Image Expert, Campus Calm